The recent partnership between Dubai’s Emirates Airlines and Australia’s Qantas was not a reaction to competition and materialised purely because of mutual gains, according to Tim Clark, president of Emirates.
Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) event in Dubai, Clark said that the decision to partner with the Australian carrier was not influenced by Etihad’s partnership with Virgin Australia that was announced in 2010.
“That agreement was done two years ago and was very different… Our partnership is not a reaction, it’s simple maths where it’s a win-win for both the parties,” he said. “[For us,] it’s not a question of what Etihad was doing or not,” he added.
Emirates and Qantas first announced the 10-year partnership in September last year, but received final approval for a five-year alliance from Australia’s competition regulator in March.
“The process of getting approval was not easy. We had to work hard to demonstrate that the move would also benefit consumers,” said Clark.
The arrangement includes changing Qantas’ hub from Singapore to Dubai for European flights, and the two airlines will offer a combined total of 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai.
Industry experts say the impact of the relationship is already being felt in Dubai, with hotels reporting a rise in Australian tourists.